Research Projects

The general research focus of our lab is on studying transcriptional regulation during normal cell development and in disease. In order to do this we use such as high throughput technologies such as next generation DNA sequencing (NGS), to study the molecular mechanisms of transcriptional regulation.

Mechanisms of disease in adult Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)

As part of a multi-lab effort, the Wilhelm lab is involved in the sequencing and analysis of the tumor transcriptomes of adult AML patients. RNA from samples banked through the BCLQ (Banque de Cellules Leucémiques du Québec) is sequenced using an Illumina HiSeq 2000 in order to calculate gene expression levels splicing changes and identify recurrent mutations. This analysis is followed by additional function characterization of particular mutations of interest.

Inherited mutations in pediatric AML

It is clear that the molecular causes of AML are different between adults (where point mutations are more frequent) and young children (where translocations are more frequently observed). We are collaborating with researchers at CHU St Justine in Montreal and the BCLQ to sequence and analyse several of these rare AML cases in order to better understand how the disease differs between young and old patients, and how this may alter the treatment required.

Integrated mechanisms of splicing and transcription in fission yeast

Many of the basic mechanisms that cells use to regulate the process of growth and division are highly conserved throughout all life forms, including down to single celled organisms such as fission yeast. Because yeast is simple to work with, and its genetics are well understood, we use it as a model system for understanding how these basic biological functions work. In particular, we are interested in understanding how the process of transcription and splicing are mechanistically connected within the physical space of the nucleus.

Development of software tools

Because of the volume and complexity of the information generated by NGS techniques (RNA-seq, whole genome sequencing, exome capture, etc.) we are interested in developing new software techniques for visualizing, exploring and analysing these data. We use a variety of approaches and languages in order to find novel relationships in the data that can be used to investigate biological function.